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Saginaw residents look to new use for an old fairgrounds

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A Saginaw neighborhood group is finding a new use for the site of a former county fairground.

It’s been more than a decade since people sat in the decaying grandstand on the 54 acre Saginaw County fairgrounds. 

Tamara Klida is with One Week-One Street, an organization that works to revitalize south Saginaw. She says they want to turn the empty fairgrounds into a park. But she says they’re not sure what needs to be done.

“Our very first steps are just taking photographs of the property and just seeing what is there and what condition it’s in,” says Klida, “But not really knowing until someone inspects it, if it’s salvageable or not…so that’s really a big unknown right now.”

Experts from Michigan State University are working with volunteers to come up with a plan for the old fairgrounds.   

Wayne Beyea is with the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction.He met with local residents this month to discuss ways to repurpose the old fairgrounds.

“For ways that not only that local residents are proud, but to also bring new folks into the area,” says Beyea.

Beyea says Saginaw is not alone. He says many communities around Michigan and around the country are exploring new "placemaking" uses for similar sites.   

They hope to have a final plan by next summer.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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